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The Relationship between Depression and Dementia

By Cherie Coe, 11:33 pm on

According to a study in the journal Neurology, depression is, at the very least, a risk factor for dementia. The extensive study involved nearly 2,000 participants with an average age of 77 who had no signs of dementia when the study began. At the conclusion of the study, about half of the participants exhibited some memory problems. Today, the Jefferson County dementia care experts at Home Care Assistance will be sharing additional information about this study to help provide insight into the link between depression and dementia.

High Levels of Depression Noted before Diagnosis

Researchers reported a higher level of depression in many of the participants before they were diagnosed with dementia, or a more specific dementia-related condition. Surprisingly, the study noted that participants diagnosed with dementia did not become depressed, with some seniors actually becoming less depressed post-diagnosis. A community-based study (Monongahela Valley Independent Elders Survey) of more than 1300 participants in Pennsylvania showed similar results.

Depression as a Result of Diagnosis

It’s understandable that dementia patients may become depressed, especially in the early stages when they are aware of what is happening and develop knowledge of what may occur at later stages of their condition, although simply being depressed doesn’t automatically mean that an older person will develop dementia-related conditions. Research does, however, emphasize a need to maintain mental alertness and emotional well-being with age and address issues such as depression as early as possible to improve overall health.

Treating Depression Early Can Have Multiple Benefits

Regardless of the mixed results of the study, there are still many benefits when it comes to recognizing and treating depression as early as possible. Keeping depression in check, beyond what’s considered a healthy or statistically reasonable amount of occasional depression, can also improve an individual’s outlook on life and lead to healthy eating and exercise decisions that can serve a person well as they age.

To learn more about senior care or in-home dementia care, visit our website at www.homecareassitancejeffersonco.com or speak directly with a friendly Care Manager at 303-987-5992 – we’re here to help 24/7.